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REVIEW: WESTONE 3, the ULTIMATE UNIVERSAL IEM vs everything else - AKA W3 Appreciation Thread - Page 34

post #496 of 2105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janni View Post
That was my real hope, of course...
However, the mould (made by acs - Advanced Communication Solutions - Cutting edge in-ear technology) is shaped to cover the first few millimeters of the SE530's body and not just their stem. As the SE530s and the W3 have a different body shape AND the W3 stem is shorter it just does not stay in place.

I will post photos when I have access to a digital camera here... (am again away from home for this week).
Use some mouldable rubber to fill in the gaps so that the mould does not move. I'm thinking something that resembles Silly-Putty. Or tape, but that would look pretty jankity...
post #497 of 2105
hm, that is creative thinking... but I would even need to cut away parts to make the stem go in deep enough. Probably I would just ruin the thing and have none left. I reckon I will not start tinkering with it if it cannot be reversed.

A question on the Westone 'custom' tips (UM96?)
Looking at some pictures of the Westone regular 'custom' mould it seems to be that it does not 'go around the bend' as my moulds do. It looks pretty much like a straight piece, very much like any other tip. Would that not make them inferior?

thanks
post #498 of 2105
even with the tips they do not seem to stick out of your ears at all so I don't know why'd they be inferior
post #499 of 2105
Considering to sell my W3..just couldn't stand the spiky and sibilant treble (which also has a whistly quality to it) on my zune 80.
post #500 of 2105
^ Hmm yeah I've really been debating getting this due to what people are saying about this issue.

ZephyrSapphire said it doesn't suit Japanese music and I guess I listen to this 100% of the time alongside other types of Asian music (KR, CN).

I own the Westone UM1's right now and I know it will be a huge jump to the UM3 or SE530... going to get either one of these for Christmas. I was set on getting the UM3, but like always, I guess it's good to have a look at others' opinions first. I'll wait for more input before pulling the trigger.
post #501 of 2105
Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyb213 View Post
even with the tips they do not seem to stick out of your ears at all so I don't know why'd they be inferior
Fair point, I was not clear enough. I did not refer to the comfort or practicality of use, but rather to the fact that some custom tips go behind the second bend of the ear canal and the Westone one seems to end before it. I would assume that they are better if they go in deeper as it will isolate better and be closer to the eardrum.

I believe I once read this view on the UE website.
post #502 of 2105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janni View Post
Fair point, I was not clear enough. I did not refer to the comfort or practicality of use, but rather to the fact that some custom tips go behind the second bend of the ear canal and the Westone one seems to end before it. I would assume that they are better if they go in deeper as it will isolate better and be closer to the eardrum.

I believe I once read this view on the UE website.
A custom tip on a universal will usually go to about the second bend as will most full customs. There are a few companies out there who end at the first bend, we do not. Too or past the second bend can help with isolation, really has nothing to do with proximity to the eardrum.
post #503 of 2105
I got my W3 5 days ago and originally felt cable up to Y-split could've been longer, but since cable is much more flexible than the SE530s, it's actually more comfortable being shorter as you don't have (thick) cables (and extensions) swinging sideways constantly.

I suppose you could say I have a big(gish) head and I have to say I find the W3 great, very unobtrusive. Cables on W3 are thinner & softer, of a plastic material that is more malleable, and makes NO noise at all when it moves, like the SE530 do - NO microphonics!!

The cable + extension on the SE530 were far too heavy for my taste, terrible for travelling, and simply quite impractical, IMO. And yes, one thing I like quite a lot about the W3 is precisely that there are no cable extensions, making the W3 incredibly light! - you just don't notice the cables at all.

However, the most important thing for me as for everyone else, I suppose, is the sound.

To me, the overall sound on the W3 beats the SE530 considerably. The only thing I can describe it as is 'more real or natural', the balance of lows/mids/highs is incredible. And I insist, instruments and voices sound very real indeed - this is strainght out of the headphone out of my iPod Classic 160gb.

I enjoyed the SE530 but could not use them for more than hour or so, but perhaps that's just me. With the W3 I can listen to music for longer periods of time.

I've been using the stock large silicon grey tips on both SE530 & W3 which provide the best seal for me, most comfort, and better sound reproduction.

It's great to not have the need to adjust any part of the sound via EQ settings, and just have the EQ off permanently.

In the last 5 days I've listened to lots of different types of music, though mostly acoustic: Classical (Orquestral, Chamber (mostly string quartets) & solo violin sonatas), Rock (from Beatles to Henry Cow), Avant Garde, Jazz (Coltrane, Kenny Wheeler), World, & Pop.

Also, the In-line Volume Control is of a better build quality - the SE530 looked and felt cheap and tacky, and did NOT work properly, as you could not mute sound completely. The W3 looks and feels right, and works perfectly.

On a perhaps irrelevant note I thought that for a £220+ pair of earphones the SE530 looked rather cheap. Yes, the metal box and rest of packaging looked very classy, but actual earphones & In-line Volume Control looked tacky.

By contrast, the W3 packaging is nothing to write home about, but the actual earphones & accessories are of better quality, in my view.

I also prefer the right-angled plug end of the cable on the W3 - something I found impractical on the SE530 somehow, as cable ended in a straight line.

And one more thing, for travelling I find the W3 carry case more practical than the SE530 - the latter being stronger/ more solid, bigger and protects IEMs better, but for me the size and texture of the W3 case is just perfect. Even the zip practically makes no noise when opening/ closing the case.

So far, I'm very, very pleased with my W3, and hope they last a long time.
post #504 of 2105
Hope you don't mind if I jump in here. I have just recently purchased the W3's and have spent some hours this weekend doing an extensive/comparative listening. Since I only have one other iem for comparison (Atrios M5 v1.0), they became the "other" iem for my comparison/evaluations versus the W3's. I own a Cowon X5L, and all my music on this players is ripped to Lame 245 kbps. I listen primarily to rock/southern rock and blues. The tracks I listened to included, but was not limited to:

Eagles - Hell Freezes Over - Hotel California
Eric Clapton - Unplugged - Old Love, Lonely Stranger
Charlie Daniels - Fire on the Mountain - Long Haired Country Boy, Georgia
Steely Dan - Deacon Blues, Don't Take me Alive, Doctor Wu
Marshall Tucker - Carolina Dreams - Desert Skies
Marshall Tucker - Together Forever - Love is a Mystery
Dido - No Angel - Thank You, I'm No Angel
Allman Brothers - Hittin' The Note - High Cost of Low Living
Neil Young - Unplugged - Harvest Moon
Basically I spent 4-5 hours going over tracks I knew very well.

I must say that I am a Atrios M5 FAN, I love these iems. I never thought I would find a better value then the M5's that I purchased for ~130US. I have had them for almost 15 months, listen to them greater then 8 hours each week, mostly at work from my Cowon or my work Dell PC (using Flac Files with foobar). I only purchased the W3's because the DEAL was so fantastic that I felt I could not pass it up. I thought I would listen for a few weeks then sell them to recoup my $$, or maybe even make a profit!!! I purchased the W3's with 30% Cashback and 10% Ebay, similar to what others have used to purchase their W3's.

The first thing I did was turn off all the EQ on my X5L. The EQ has been helpful to mate the "brightness" of the X5L to the laidback highs of the M5. I knew this might hurt the M5's, but wanted everything on a level playing field.

The differences I heard, I was not expecting to hear. My initial reaction was to make sure the M5’s were seated properly. Having done this hundreds of times over the last 15 months, I knew I had a good tight seal. But there was a significant difference between the overall presentation. The M5’s that were my pride and joy only 1 week ago, seemed to have a distant presentation. The W3’s were so full, surrounding me with vocals, guitars and bass, and very upfront. And they were more clear as well. This happened everytime I got to a portion of a song that I knew well and did the comparison. After 30 minutes or so of this, I just stopped switching. I stayed with the W3’s, excited to hear another song in a new light. The bass that everyone agrees is a strong suit of the Atrios, I found the W3’s were doing a better job at presenting them. The W3’s had a similar bottom end, but it was so much more punchy and detailed.
So, I thought that maybe the lack of EQ’ing with the Atrios was a factor, but if the W3’s sounded this good with no EQ’ing, they must sound out of this world with a bit of EQ’ing help. Sadly, I was wrong. At least for the few songs I listened to, the EQ’ing actually detracted from the sound I had heard straight from the X5L no frills. I then began to boost volume, and the SQ never waivered. In fact, it was only after one of my listening sessions ended that I realized how loud I had them when I had that hum in my ears. But they sounded so sweet I never thought to turn them down. The top end on the W3’s is very nice, significantly more forward and pronounced then the M5’s, but not as overly bright as some others have found them to be. I did not try any of the supplied tips on the W3’s, I chose to use the Shure Medium Olives (reversed seated) that I have been using on the M5’s. The seal for me is perfect, similar to the M5. The body of the W3 is a bit different then the M5, so it is not as easy to insert. But once proper seated, I never felt they were any less secure then the M5. The W3’s do not seat as deep in my ear canal as the M5, and maybe this why they seem so comfortable. I only noticed them when some slight microphonics occurred opening and closing my mouth.

But this comparison was strictly about the sound. The W3’s made me not want to use my M5’s any longer. They were that much better. And when I thought the M5 would have an advantage (the bottom end), the W3’s even trumped that by providing a more punchy and detailed bottom end. I find myself looking for MORE free time in my day so I can do more listening, and that’s the best compliment I can give about these fine iem’s.

The wallet matters, and the W3’s are 3 times more expensive then the M5’s ($399USD vs $129USD). But with the December discounts I used to purchase the W3’s ( my pair cost be ~$240USD, not quite 2 times more espensive), this helps make for a more fair comparison to me and my bank account (and that all that really matters to me!). I am not going to sell my M5’s, but I can see they will definitely get some time off over the next few months. I hope this helps someone make up their mind. I know others who did this prior to me certainly helped sway me to purchase the W3’s, and I would like to thanks each and everyone of them.
post #505 of 2105
Nice review Richdel.
I really hope there is some of this in store for me when I get my new set of iem, and settle on what to keep.
The IE8's was a dissapointment really.. Ah well! Good job, keep up the reviews
post #506 of 2105
I've had UM2's and SE530's. I thought both were superb IEM's, the SE530's perhaps a bit more refined than the UM2's.

Now I have 3's. They're better than both, lots better. Massive but somehow restrained bottom end. Lovely musical midsection and highs. I've listened to everything from Black Sabbath to Massive Attack to medieval vocal music, and it's all just as gorgeous as can be. Extremely comfortable and light for exercise. Great cable. I've been using them with large black olives and the SQ and isolation are excellent. They do seat just a bit further in than the UM2's (nice actually, since they stick out less), so you have to push them just a little bit more to get them in the right place. I very, very strongly suspect that anyone who thinks that these sound "thin" simply hasn't figured out how to properly insert them.
post #507 of 2105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janni View Post
[snipped all the good stuff to answer your question, but did put a link to your review in the first post]

The main issue I have though is that I cannot get the W3 to fit me well and comfortably!!!

I have used the SE530 with custom moulds in the past and before that used the medium Shure olives. Both had great fit and seal, just that the customs were a bit more comfortable. Now the Shure olives suddenly do not fit so well and are too loose!? Could it be that my earcanals got wider in the recent past?

All other bits I tried are either too small (all medium sized stuff), do not enter far enough (e.g. large Shure olives), are uncomfortably hard & non-isolating (the clear & grey bits)..... Just the tri-flange with the top ring amputated isolates well, but it is not comfortable.

Any suggestions?
The sound tubes are shorter on the W3, so they don't go in as deep, so you don't get past the wide part of the ear canal and down to the narrower deeper part so the shure olives are too short for you.

You either need the Complys P-series (P-100 I think) foam tips which are longer, or a pair of Westone UM-56 custom molded tips like I use. I too cannot use my old Shure black foam tips that worked for me with my SE530, and have to try some larger ones, but the longer complys P-series work well.
post #508 of 2105
I just got my w3's and so far I am a big fan but I need to let my ears settle in a bit and get used to them but so far so good.
post #509 of 2105
Excellent review/comparison with the Atrios. I also was a big Atrio fan, one of the early roaddogonline buyers at $130. I sold off the Atrios to make room for the Sleek SA6s (after doing a lot of listening, as you did). But I didn't need to do much listening when I unwrapped and stuck on the W3s. The Sleeks have found a happy new home. And so have the W3s. Anyway, nice, thoughtful review.

Oh, have a band for you, based on your song choices. Southern Culture on the Skids (Dirt Track Date is the CD). Unless you already have it. Excellent southern rock (they are from North Carolina).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richdel View Post
Hope you don't mind if I jump in here. I have just recently purchased the W3's and have spent some hours this weekend doing an extensive/comparative listening. Since I only have one other iem for comparison (Atrios M5 v1.0), they became the "other" iem for my comparison/evaluations versus the W3's. I own a Cowon X5L, and all my music on this players is ripped to Lame 245 kbps. I listen primarily to rock/southern rock and blues. The tracks I listened to included, but was not limited to:

Eagles - Hell Freezes Over - Hotel California
Eric Clapton - Unplugged - Old Love, Lonely Stranger
Charlie Daniels - Fire on the Mountain - Long Haired Country Boy, Georgia
Steely Dan - Deacon Blues, Don't Take me Alive, Doctor Wu
Marshall Tucker - Carolina Dreams - Desert Skies
Marshall Tucker - Together Forever - Love is a Mystery
Dido - No Angel - Thank You, I'm No Angel
Allman Brothers - Hittin' The Note - High Cost of Low Living
Neil Young - Unplugged - Harvest Moon
Basically I spent 4-5 hours going over tracks I knew very well.

I must say that I am a Atrios M5 FAN, I love these iems. I never thought I would find a better value then the M5's that I purchased for ~130US. I have had them for almost 15 months, listen to them greater then 8 hours each week, mostly at work from my Cowon or my work Dell PC (using Flac Files with foobar). I only purchased the W3's because the DEAL was so fantastic that I felt I could not pass it up. I thought I would listen for a few weeks then sell them to recoup my $$, or maybe even make a profit!!! I purchased the W3's with 30% Cashback and 10% Ebay, similar to what others have used to purchase their W3's.

The first thing I did was turn off all the EQ on my X5L. The EQ has been helpful to mate the "brightness" of the X5L to the laidback highs of the M5. I knew this might hurt the M5's, but wanted everything on a level playing field.

The differences I heard, I was not expecting to hear. My initial reaction was to make sure the M5’s were seated properly. Having done this hundreds of times over the last 15 months, I knew I had a good tight seal. But there was a significant difference between the overall presentation. The M5’s that were my pride and joy only 1 week ago, seemed to have a distant presentation. The W3’s were so full, surrounding me with vocals, guitars and bass, and very upfront. And they were more clear as well. This happened everytime I got to a portion of a song that I knew well and did the comparison. After 30 minutes or so of this, I just stopped switching. I stayed with the W3’s, excited to hear another song in a new light. The bass that everyone agrees is a strong suit of the Atrios, I found the W3’s were doing a better job at presenting them. The W3’s had a similar bottom end, but it was so much more punchy and detailed.
So, I thought that maybe the lack of EQ’ing with the Atrios was a factor, but if the W3’s sounded this good with no EQ’ing, they must sound out of this world with a bit of EQ’ing help. Sadly, I was wrong. At least for the few songs I listened to, the EQ’ing actually detracted from the sound I had heard straight from the X5L no frills. I then began to boost volume, and the SQ never waivered. In fact, it was only after one of my listening sessions ended that I realized how loud I had them when I had that hum in my ears. But they sounded so sweet I never thought to turn them down. The top end on the W3’s is very nice, significantly more forward and pronounced then the M5’s, but not as overly bright as some others have found them to be. I did not try any of the supplied tips on the W3’s, I chose to use the Shure Medium Olives (reversed seated) that I have been using on the M5’s. The seal for me is perfect, similar to the M5. The body of the W3 is a bit different then the M5, so it is not as easy to insert. But once proper seated, I never felt they were any less secure then the M5. The W3’s do not seat as deep in my ear canal as the M5, and maybe this why they seem so comfortable. I only noticed them when some slight microphonics occurred opening and closing my mouth.

But this comparison was strictly about the sound. The W3’s made me not want to use my M5’s any longer. They were that much better. And when I thought the M5 would have an advantage (the bottom end), the W3’s even trumped that by providing a more punchy and detailed bottom end. I find myself looking for MORE free time in my day so I can do more listening, and that’s the best compliment I can give about these fine iem’s.

The wallet matters, and the W3’s are 3 times more expensive then the M5’s ($399USD vs $129USD). But with the December discounts I used to purchase the W3’s ( my pair cost be ~$240USD, not quite 2 times more espensive), this helps make for a more fair comparison to me and my bank account (and that all that really matters to me!). I am not going to sell my M5’s, but I can see they will definitely get some time off over the next few months. I hope this helps someone make up their mind. I know others who did this prior to me certainly helped sway me to purchase the W3’s, and I would like to thanks each and everyone of them.
post #510 of 2105
Quote:
Originally Posted by soyama View Post
Nice review Richdel.
I really hope there is some of this in store for me when I get my new set of iem, and settle on what to keep.
The IE8's was a dissapointment really.. Ah well! Good job, keep up the reviews

As a big Westone fan and UM2 owner for the last year, I actually found the Sennheiser IE series to be better than my UM2s in terms of both comfort and sound detail (I did about 45 minutes of A/B'ing with my UM2s at the Fort Lauderdale meet in April). I actually liked the Sennheiser IE7s so much that I ordered a pair the day after the meet for $222 online, but my order was cancelled due to manufacturer's delays (oh well, Sennheiser's loss). I ran into a Westone 3 thread a while ago and decided to purchase them and here are my first impressions after 2 days of use:

1) Comfort: I listen for prolonged periods of time and comfort is very important to me. Before buying these, I checked the dimensions and specs very carefully. Having tried Shures and Triple-Fis, I was very surprised with the way the 3's fit considering they are 3-drivers yet feel the same or more comfortable than my UM2s. This was a big plus in justifying the extra $$ paid for these as IEMs are worthless to me if they are uncomfortable, even with the best sound.

2) Clarity, Soundstage, and Bass: I tested with classical, techno, r&b, rock, and arabic music (drums, guitar) on an Ipod 16GB (First Generation) non-amped. Out of all IEMs, the Westone's sound signature always appealed to me because of the warm but crisp signature and sound stage. The Westone 3's deliver a lot more than the UM2s in term of clarity and detail. There is more "openness" in the soundstage, which I never heard before in any IEM. All instrumentals and vocals sound amazing with a lot more detail than the UM2s.

3) Value: At $100 more than the UM2s, I would definetly recommend the Westone 3's to those who can afford it. In comparison with the "other" manufacturers, I find the Westone 3's great because they deliver comfort and clarity without sounding harsh or too detailed (uhm... Sh*r*). With many different tips to try (12 pairs total), you are pretty much guraranteed to find one that suits you in terms of comfort and getting a good seal (and good sound). While $399 is steep for most people, these headphones are (in my opinion) the best in the 3-driver lineup!!
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › REVIEW: WESTONE 3, the ULTIMATE UNIVERSAL IEM vs everything else - AKA W3 Appreciation Thread